Comparison Of The Crucible And Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

1503 words - 6 pages

In the most publicized gay bashing, the dead body of Adam R. Schindler Jr., an American naval radioman, was found battered and disfigured in a public toilet in a park in Japan where he had been serving [Sterngold]. After revealing his homosexuality to his peers in the army, he had been left unrecognizably mutilated and beaten to death. In response, in 1993, the Clinton administration initiated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” [DADT] which meant that military officers could not investigate a soldier’s sexual preference without reason and a soldier should not voluntarily disclose it [McGowan 4]. Historically, the US military had never directly banned gays, only their actions of sodomy, but a change occurred during the World Wars after the Christian belief that homosexuality was a sin pervaded the military [Frank 1]. An anti-gay conviction that it weakened the military and demoralized the cause led to attacks similar to that of Schindler. Likewise, in The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, a colonial village found itself trapped in hysteria for justice, order, and retribution to weed out the “heathens” that disrupted the peace and infected their community. In both instances, preconceived notions and Christianity played major roles in the government policies that alienated the destabilizers of the society. Until the accusation of the more respected people, their questionable means of information and resultant punishments were undisputed.
The prejudice of both modern military policy and the Salem witch trials is built on the misconceptions and stereotypes of the accused. The belief that gay men are feminine shorts-wearing, roller skaters invested with AIDS [McGowan 13] and the perceived image of a sex-driven gay contrasts the military’s “bastion of traditional male values” [Frank 41]. Homosexuals are comparative to women in that they disrupt their manly image and order of society. Pre-DADT, everything was blamed on them, from ship explosions to natural disasters [Frank 31] thereby adding to the belief that gay men were hindrances to the military and inferior beings. Similarly, in Salem, the people first being accused of witchcraft were lower class, unchristian-like women such as Tituba, the slave, and Goody Osbourn, a midwife who had helped in the naissance of three newborn babies who all “shriveled in her hands” [Miller 47]. The stereotypical witch is based on them. They were not highly esteemed in town, and as women were given even less importance. The villagers were adamant about pursuing “witches” because they felt the same sentiment towards the suspects as they did towards the two women; they were destroying their ideal of a New Jerusalem. In result, the misconception of the cross-dressing, AIDS invested gay and the poor, unchristian female witch promotes the negative policies.
The homophobic DADT and the persecution of witchcraft in The Crucible are established by religious influences in the government. Christian officials in present-day America view their...

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